Cameron gives top environment policy job to oil man ahead of major climate talks – ‘Like asking Count Dracula for advice before a conference on veganism’Posted by Jim at Monday, September 21, 2015
By Harry Davies
17 September 2015
(The Guardian) – Environmentalists have criticised a decision to appoint a former consultant to major oil and gas companies as David Cameron’s key adviser on energy and environment policy.
Stephen Heidari-Robinson, a little-known consultant from oilfield services company Schlumberger, arrives in Downing Street just months before the prime minister is expected to attend the UN’s global climate change summit which begins in Paris in December.
A Number 10 spokesman confirmed the appointment of Heidari-Robinson, who started in the job this week. It is understood he will serve as a lead energy and environment adviser to the prime minister, liaising with senior ministers and officials across Whitehall.
He joins Cameron’s top team from Schlumberger’s London-based consulting division where he advised companies including BP, Shell and Chevron and co-authored a paper critical of the tax regime on North Sea oil and gas production.
Number 10’s spokesman said Heidari-Robinson has been appointed for his experience and expertise, however according to his LinkedIn profile he has little previous experience in environment or climate change policy.
Prior to Schlumberger, Heidari-Robinson worked at multinational consultancy firm McKinsey, advising state-owned oil companies in the Middle East. He previously worked at the Ministry of Defence for six years and is an Oxford graduate and Persian speaker.
This is not the first time Cameron has drawn criticism over appointing a climate change adviser from the energy sector. Heidari-Robinson’s predecessor, Tara Singh, was previously a lobbyist for British Gas owner and fracking investor Centrica. Singh left Downing Street in April after two years in the job.
Singh replaced Ben Moxham, a former aide to Lord Browne, the former chief executive of BP. Moxham’s appointment in 2011 attracted controversy as he came straight from Riverstone, a private equity firm behind the UK-based shale gas company Cuadrilla.
Heidari-Robinson’s previous employer, Schlumberger, is a major player in the oil and gas industry providing a range of services to fossil fuel companies around the world. In the US, Schlumberger have developed many of the controversial drilling technologies used to extract oil and gas from shale formations.
Responding to the latest appointment, Greenpeace UK’s head of energy Daisy Sands said: “Hiring an oil man as an energy and environment adviser in the run-up to a major climate summit is like asking Count Dracula for advice before a conference on veganism. It shows yet again that the government remains enthralled to the oil and gas industries.” [more]